Sustainable Development in Times of Climate Change

05 May 2021

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. If left unchecked, climate change could not only lead to irreversible environmental effects, but also devastating economic and societal impact.

What can we do as policymakers and stakeholders across private, public and people sectors to take action to be more sustainable?

The second edition of Temasek Shophouse Conversations held on 9 April 2021 brought together leaders from different spheres to exchange ideas on environmental issues and sustainable development in the face of climate change.

Putting climate at the heart of decision making

“Tackling climate change is a complex and multifaceted challenge and none of us can do it alone. We must change how we live, work, and play, and combine our resources across sectors to take concrete action to be more sustainable,” said Minister Desmond Lee as he opened the Temasek Shophouse Conversation on Climate Action.

He shared that, as a nation, Singapore has recently launched the SG Green Plan 2030 – a national movement to chart the course for sustainable development over the next decade.

Singapore’s Green Plan comprises five key pillars to achieve sustainable development:

First, City in Nature – to create a green, liveable and sustainable home for Singaporeans.

Second, Sustainable Living – to make reducing carbon emissions, keeping our environment clean, and saving resources and energy a way of life for all of us. We can all actively reduce, reuse, and recycle, and choose greener commuting options such as walking, cycling, and taking public transport.

Third, Energy Reset – to use cleaner energy and increase energy efficiency to lower our carbon footprint.

Fourth, Green Economy – to create new green jobs, and transform our industries to be more sustainable. This will not only support a sustainable Singapore, but can facilitate Asia’s transition to a sustainable future.

And Fifth, Resilient Future – to build up Singapore’s climate resilience, safeguard our coasts against rising sea levels, mitigate urban heat, and enhance our food security.

Moving from ambition to action

As more countries begin to create their own green plans to grow sustainably, many companies are also committing to net zero. Forward-looking businesses are embracing sustainability requirements and regulations, using them to innovate, compete and create new ways to do business.

Consumers and corporates alike are focusing on environmental and sustainability practices when making financial decisions. Global consumer demand for ethically and sustainably sourced products has led to more businesses incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their trade and finance decisions.

Financing change in the world

Dr. Ma Jun, Chairman of the Green Finance Committee, China Society for Finance and Banking, shared his insights about greening the financial sector at the Temasek Shophouse Conversations.

He spoke about his experience in involving the private sector in financing green and low carbon activities in China, and how other countries could do the same by first considering these 3 key questions:

Sustainability and finance should go hand in hand if we are to solve the world’s environmental and economic challenges.

We need to finance change because being sustainable is not just about reducing our own footprint. It is in all the choices we make as financiers, investors, governments, even customers, to limit our impact on the climate and transition to a lower carbon economy.